College: The Writing Center
into the basement of the stately red brick Gothic building
that is Columbia University’s Teacher’s College (TC), the Graduate
Writing Center is a seven-year old indispensable resource for
students who need to hone their written-language skills. Utilized
mainly by TC and Columbia College students, the Center is also
open to members of the community and has had clients ranging
from elementary school children who want to develop good habits
and techniques to professionals who need help translating foreign
language journal articles into proper English. The Center’s
services include private tutoring for higher education students
and for elementary, middle, and high school students as well
as workshops and dissertation editing. Currently, the Center,
which has about 200 clients, is one of only three graduate
schools in the nation with a writing center.
who work one-on-one with clients, are TC students studying
in relevant fields such as Applied Linguistics, English Education,
TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages),
and Gifted Education. They are well versed in styles of documentation
for research papers, particularly the popular APA style. Tutors
focus on specific writing tasks, helping a client find and
correct errors and develop strategies and approaches that can
be applied to future assignments. They will look at organization,
transitions, sentence structure, and grammar. They do not proofread
or copy edit. Cara Tuzzolino-Werben, a TC student in Applied
Linguistics, who is assistant coordinator at the Center and
matches clients to tutors after assessment interviews, explains
that the program is process oriented. “If you are struggling,
you have to understand that writing is a process as well as
a technique. Breaking it down makes it easier. Writing a paper
is a continuum. It is drafting and revising. In the collaborative
relationship, the client writes a paper, discusses it, revises
it, rewrites it, and perhaps discusses it again.” Tutoring
for younger students depends upon individual needs and can
be related to school assignments, writing-test preparation,
college application essays, or developing useful skills. The
only copy-editing done at the Center is for final-stage dissertations.
Young, a TC doctoral candidate and part-time math teacher at
Hunter College High School’s after-school program, is one of
20 tutors at the Writing Center. The needs of his clients vary
from the “right” way to gather the all-important literature
review in a research paper to the challenges faced by non-native
English speakers. He tries to be patient and supportive. “Teaching
and education are my life’s work,” he exclaims. “Working here
is a joy.” Tuzzolino-Werben shares his enthusiasm and credits
director of the Center, doctoral candidate Dana Zaskoda, for
setting the standard with “her really rigorous approach to
addition to the one-on-one options, three-to-four hour workshops,
open to the community, focus on relevant issues in academic
writing, such as getting started, organizing, grant writing,
research skills, grammar, referencing and bibliography, and
punctuation. Tutors teach the workshops, which are kept small
at 6 to 8 members. Workshops are held at the Center. Individual
tutoring can take place at any time and place convenient to
both client and tutor.#
Center is self-sustaining and charges fees for its services.
Rates are hourly and must be purchased in 3-hour blocks.
For more information, call (212) 678-3789.
Update, Inc., P.O. Box 1588, New York, NY 10159.
Tel: (212) 477-5600. Fax: (212) 477-5893. Email: email@example.com.
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